Wyeth, Newell Conver
American, 1882 - 1945
“Kuerner´s Farm”, c. 1916
Signed lower left: “N.C. Wyeth”
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection
Oil on canvas
152,4 x 182,9 cm
Carolyn Wyeth (artist´s daughter)
Andrew Cripso Gallery, New York. Inv. 2515-Ref. 78-ACG-57, September 1978.
Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, 1978.
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection.
20th Century American Painting and Sculpture, Andrew Crispo Gallery, New York, Exhib. n. 44.
Maestri americani della Collezione Thyssen-Bornemisza. Roma, Musei Vaticani, nº. 103.
Maestri americani della Collezione Thyssen-Bornemisza. Lugano, Villa Malpensata, nº 101.
1984 - 1986
American Masters: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Baltimore (MD), The Baltimore Museum of Art; Detroit (MI), The Detroit Institute of Arts; Denver (CO), Denver Art Museum; San Antonio (TX), Marion Koogler McNay Art Institute; New York (NY), IBM Gallery of Arts and Sciences; San Diego (CA), San Diego Museum of Art; Palm Beach (FL), The Society of the Four Arts. nº 103.
-LEVIN, G.: Twentieth-century American painting. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. London, 1987, Sotheby´s Publications, G. Editor Simon de Pury, n. 3, pp.36-37. [Sheet by Gail Levin]
Although previously exhibited under the title Kuerner’s Farm, this painting could not possibly depict the farm when Karl Kuerner owned it. He had fought in the German army during the First World War, arrived in Chadds Ford immediately after the war and then took up farming. N.C. Wyeth’s son, Andrew, would later devote much time to painting Kuerner’s farm which he first knew as a boy during the 1920s. While this farm is probably in the same area, the buildings depicted are not identical with those represented by Andrew Wyeth, nor are the pine trees he recalled and painted visible in this canvas (1).
N.C. Wyeth, more famous as an illustrator than as a painter, had, from the beginning of his career, expressed his desire to become a landscape painter. In this painting, he depicted a farm in early spring, as is clear from the daffodils and narcissuses blooming prominently in the foreground. The effect of the bright sunlight breaking through the clouds and illuminating this pastoral landscape is one of cheerfulness and calm. The trees are just opening their new green leaves and we see nature’s new beginning. This optimistic vision painted in a soft, pastel palette is quite different from the darker, more somber mood and tonality of his son Andrew’s later paintings.
From the time he moved there in the spring of 1908, N.C.Wyeth adored the Brandywine River valley in rural Pennsylvania with its rolling hills and gentle streams. He explained this enthusiasm: “I am finding deeper pleasure, deeper meanings in the simple things in the country life here. Being older and more mature, I am realizing that one must go beneath the surface to paint and so it is that my real loves, my real affections are reviving” (2).
(1) See the ‘Two Worlds of Andrew Wyeth: Kuerners and Olsons’. Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin XXXIV, Autumn 1976. p.40.
(2) Quoted in Douglas Allen and Douglas Allen, Jr., N. C. Wyeth: The Collected Paintings. New York, Crown Publishers. Inc., 1972. pp. 63-65.